Moments of Wonderful

…rather than a lifetime of nothing special. A diabetes blog.

Moments of Wonderful - …rather than a lifetime of nothing special. A diabetes blog.

Delivering DexCom details

I am just starting day 11 of my first 7 day sensor [as of late Saturday night]. There are definitely more gaps in the information than there were in the beginning. I have come to despise the question mark. For those that don’t wear the DexCom – when the sensor isn’t reading you see ??? instead of a blood glucose value. According to the instruction manual, when you get the ???, the best thing you can do it nothing. “Wait. ??? usually resolves itself within several minutes or up to several hours.” [emphasis mine] I have had a couple of “several hour” gaps in information, and just as I am about to pull the sensor it starts reading again.

sensor day 10
Note: That is not my site in the corner of the picture. You should always inject insulin at least 3 inches away from your sensor. I wear the Sure-T infusion set, and that is just the secondary disconnect site.
I have a feeling the adhesive on this sensor is going to give out before the sensor actually does. I don’t have any medical tape, so I had to improvise when things really started to get loose this morning. Do you guys just use over-the-counter tape or something different to hold down the edges?
unconventional taping

 

So do I think it is worth it to wear a CGM and fight all the related battles? 100% yes. After experiencing overnight lows at the same time the first two nights, I was able to easily adjust my basal rates. Because I was going to bed in range and waking up in range, I had no idea anything was going on during the night. I live alone so not waking up while being in the 50s is a scary situation. I also noticed that was having a late afternoon spike in numbers so I adjusted that basal as well. Too low at 3 am – too high at 3 pm.
Here’s another great example – I was chatting on TokBox the other night after a great Cuban dinner of unknown carb count. I was telling them how much I love my CGM and how accurate it is. When I checked the receiver, I noticed that while it said I was 142 mg/dL it was also showing a “straight down” arrow. This means my blood glucose level was dropping at a rate of about 2-3 mg/dL. I checked with my meter and found that I was 97 mg/dL. Considering the CGM is about 20 minutes behind real-time numbers I would say that is incredibly accurate. I grabbed a little juice box and evened out at about 100 on the CGM. Preventing lows (and highs) is reason enough to make the CGM battle worth it!
I am still adjusting to “wearing” the receiver. Girls, where do you put your receiver? Even when I am wearing pants with pockets, it doesn’t fit right. I already have my pump in one pocket so if I put the receiver in the other, the lumps and bumps are just not the look I am going for. Do you just carry it in your purse and hope it stays in range?
Speaking of delivering details, I would really like to look at my DexCom information a little closer but alas, I may have found the one and only downside of owning a MacBook. I know I can run Windows on my Mac (Bootcamp or something?); but can someone explain to me exactly what I need to get?
By the way, if you wear a CGM, be sure to check out and add to the latest diabetes Flickr group – The CGM – Tracking the Roller Coaster started by Sugabetic Sarah.
gaps in info
Category: Dexcom, insurance
  • Luke Skywalker says:

    Maybe the really crappy Dexcom service that I’m seeing in my area is a blessing not to get the system. No response, no reply, and no service- like a really bad cell phone.

    The bandaid are probably something you have to do, but seems like a product flaw.

    September 26, 2010 at 9:47 am
  • Amalas says:

    Once I switched to using Skin Tac wipes, I have had zero problems with the adhesive. http://www.americandiabeteswholesale.com/-strse-2592/Torbot-Skin-Tac-Adhesive/Detail.bok

    And I’m not sure what crappy Dexcom service Luke Skywalker is talking about because I’ve nothing but fast, pleasant service. If there are any problems with the sensor, they will replace it. Even at 10pm on a Saturday, they have people on the phone who will help you out.

    September 26, 2010 at 9:59 am
  • Kelly Booth says:

    You have more patience that I do ย– anytime I get the ??? after day 7, I just yank the sensor. I was worried about the sensor I am currently using because that happened about 10 minutes after I calibrated but it came back and has been very accurate.

    I have a Spibelt that I have my receiver in and I have my pump clipped to a belt loop. I feel like Tool Time Tim! I did buy a solo Spipocket to put my pump in but that was just way too bulky. If I am going someplace that I donย’t want all the bulk, then I will put the receiver in my purse.

    I bought the Opsite Flexifix tape and really love that. American Diabetes Warehouse also carries that. The 11 yard roll lasts forever. I bought mine at a local medical supply place but even with shipping American Diabetes is cheaper so will be getting my next roll from them. A friend of mine also sent me the Flexifix squares and I liked those even more than the roll so I might switch to those ย– they were easier to get the top layer off.

    September 26, 2010 at 1:13 pm
  • Jillian says:

    Welcome to the Dexcom club! I use over the counter 3M medical tape to keep the sensor in place. Skin Tac is great, but unfortunately I’m allergic to it and most other adhesive things ๐Ÿ™

    You probably don’t want to hear this, but take the gel cover off. It makes it so much more sleek in your pocket. It’s not as cute and fun, but it makes your clothes look better. Good luck with the ??? they annoy me so much!

    September 26, 2010 at 2:25 pm
  • Sara says:

    Who knew people read blogs on Sundays?! Thanks everyone!

    Jillian – I am allergic to Skin Tac too. It’s been the only thing so far I have reacted to (other than oddly enough – paper tape). I still don’t know about the receiver in my pocket even without the cover. I have pretty wide hips already so adding anything more makes me really uncomfortable.

    Luke Skywalker – Yes, the customer service while I was ordering was less than ideal but the service for users is a different (and MUCH better) department. Regarding the ??? and the bandaids, both arrived after the end of the 7 days of the 7 day sensor. I am using it for longer than it is designed so these are “problems” I have caused.

    September 26, 2010 at 2:36 pm
  • Bob P says:

    I’m happy it’s working out usefully for you!

    September 26, 2010 at 2:48 pm
  • Richard Vaughn says:

    Sara, I noticed the sensor tape curling up at the edges in your pics. Moisture can get under there and make its way to the site, thus interfering with the output. I use Skin-Prep from the drugstore around the edges of the sensor tape and let it dry THOROUGHLY, and then use paper tape all around on the four sides. I think there is a diagram in the manual showing the taping. Don’t put any tape on the transmitter.

    Some users also use alcohol wipes all over the area before inserting a new sensor. After drying, the area is both clean and very dry. I suppose the drying of the alcohol removes some of the natural moisture in the skin. Dryness is very important at that time.

    I have had the ??? with only one sensor. It never resolved itself. It was on the eleventh day and close to the end of my usual 14 day cycle anyway, so I replaced it with a new sensor.

    When I removed the old sensor, there was some little speckles of debris around the site. I think some moisture had worked its way into the area.

    September 26, 2010 at 4:00 pm
  • Luke Skywalker says:

    Sarah- you are correct. The sales people in the field that are supposed to initiate everything are marginal. It’s almost been a month since I met with the individual and have heard nothing. Even email has been unresponded to.

    Amalas- see my comment to Sarah above. It’s about the “crappy service” as you called it. I called it “no response, no reply, and no service- like a really bad cell phone.” I think Sarah even wrote a blog about her experience. Maybe she was upset cause it took a month to get a response, LIKE ME.

    September 26, 2010 at 8:55 pm
  • Sara says:

    Richard – I am glad that routine works for you but you are using the only two things I am allergic to – Skin-Prep and paper tape! ๐Ÿ˜€

    I will probably investigate Flexifix tape. That seems like my best option.

    September 26, 2010 at 10:22 pm
  • Cynthia says:

    I use 4 by 4 3/4 Tegaderm HP squares over my Dexcom. I get 14-30 days from one sensor. I do have adhesive allergies, and the Tegaderm HP works wonders.

    I take a baby sock, and pin it to my underwear, then place the dexcom in it. I’ve also worn the SPIbelt as a belt attached to my pants if I have pants with belt loops.

    September 27, 2010 at 10:31 am
  • Laura G. says:

    Glad you like your Dex! I’ve had mine for a year now and I’ve learned so much. It’s really helped my motivation to stay on top of the details, and I have more stable BGs than I’ve ever had.

    While working or traveling I always have the Dex in my bag, and I keep my bag right near me. At home, or out for a walk, I put it in my pocket. At night it’s under my pillow or on the nightstand. (I might try baby-sock pinned to pajamas too.) No tool belt for me…

    Smith and Nephew Skin Prep wipes make a good first layer to help with adhesion. And after about 5-6 days when the sensor tape starts to curl at the edges, I cut a transmitter-shaped hole in a piece of 2″ Hypafix tape and carefully put it over the whole site.

    September 27, 2010 at 12:13 pm

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